Category Archives: Business strategy

Upgrade Your Fears And Free Your Soul

Fear is part of the human condition. We have all experienced it at one point or another. It’s what we choose to do in the face of fear that defines our character…and our results.

Fear’s original design is to protect us from harm. Unfortunately, sometimes we place too much value on the “Danger! Danger!” alerts it sends us and fear things that should be more directly confronted.

A recent, simple experience got me thinking about the impact fear has on our lives. I attended a surprise birthday party with an Hawaiian theme.

After the surprise, entertainment, food and cake, the coordinators announced there would be contests and prizes for the lowest limbo and longest hula hoop whirl.

I surveyed the jagged rock-covered ground and considered the flimsy sandals I was wearing and immediately ruled out the limbo contest.  I thought though, I could probably handle the hula hoop contest.  However, immediately my mind went to “How will I look?”, “Has it been too long?”, “What will they think?”, “Will I embarrass myself?”

Just as quickly though, I DECIDED it didn’t matter how I looked  or what they might think and sprang out of my seat to claim my hula hoop.

Out of a crowd of over 50, about 10 of us decided to participate in the contests. No, I didn’t win (shucks). I did come in second though and felt pleased with myself that I didn’t let that little voice in my head keep me on the sidelines cause even though the hula hoop fell down too quickly in the final round, it was exhilarating pressing my muscles to remember  ‘the moves’ from my childhood.

What do your fears keep you from doing?

It’s a trivial example, but it made me think about the things my fears DID keep me on the sidelines for. So that night I DECIDED to push the edge of my concerns and worries when I got back to the office on Monday.

So, at the start of the week, I pulled out my call list and when I felt a twinge of “Oh no. Today’s not a good day to call that person”, I knew that was the person to call. Now I can’t say any of those calls turned into immediate money, but amazingly, I DID get two enticing offers ‘out of the blue’ that let me know the universe was rewarding my efforts.

Most of us waste our energy worrying about things that are undeserving of our attention.  Studs Terkel once wrote, “Most people are in jobs that are too small for their souls.” I would spin that slightly to “Most people live inside fears that are too small for their spirit.”

We are afraid of stuff that’s too small, insignificant, unbecoming of the magnificent person we truly are.

So, instead of wasting your time on the trivial minutia or day-to-day drama, create something meaningful that scares you and conquer that.

It’s silly to be afraid to pick up the phone to make an important call. But left to our own devices, we all do it from time to time.

Life, and our success in it, is about continually expanding our capabilities, our sense of self, our positive impact on the world, the expression of our deepest longing, our gift and purpose for being on this planet at this time.

And to do this, we most grow larger than that which constrains us.

What would you do or attempt to do if you were living life courageously? Who would you call? What would you say? What project would you take on? How big would you play? What would you do with your life? How bold would you be?

Here are today’s simple fear-busting tips:
1) Catch yourself when you start to procrastinate or make excuses. Then take action on something you fear.
2) Go public by telling others what you’re up to so it’s harder to back out.
3) Commit to goals that stretch you even if you have no idea how you’ll put them off.
4) Ask for help along the way.
5) Praise yourself for kicking your fear to the curb even if you don’t get the immediate result you desired. If you continuously take courageous action, your life will change.

Be aware of your fears, but not beholden to them. Use them as stepping stones to your future and a brave new world.

Loretta Love Huff

7 Requirements to Turn a Dream into a Business

One of the things I hear over and over again when I work with my clients is “Wow!” I never thought of that!”

There’s something about the process of talking out loud with another person skilled in thought facilitation that generates insight, creativity and innovation that simply isn’t possible on one’s own.

A recent new client spent an afternoon with me sorting out the ideas in her head about the business she dreamed of launching.

To quote her, “We’re caught in our own heads and world and thoughts. We need an outside agent to pull the ideas out.

As I evaluate what it is I consistently do that evokes the sparking of new ideas that provoke committed and inspired action, I’ve boiled it down to seven things.

1) A proven process
Depending on the client’s goal, one or more of several processes are employed to guide the client toward the desired end result. Whether it’s defining the perfect market, evaluating your readiness for the venture or surveying the competitive landscape, you can’t just have a random, meandering conversation that goes nowhere.

Surely there must be flexibility in the system, but having a definitive track to start on, helps the process flow smoothly.

2) Mirrored thought
Ideas when articulated become more clear. Even faulty thinking is identified more rapidly when expressed out loud.

Often just repeating what someone says makes them come to grips with it’s truth or fallacy.

3) Shared observations and recommendations
Years of experience in banking, technology, marketing and management have generated a practical perspective and literally thousands of opinions 🙂  on a variety of topics that can be invaluable to someone who isn’t quite sure how to proceed on their quest. Well-informed counsel can make life easier.

4) Appropriate doubt
“Are you sure about that?”. Another client was about to take action that was fundamentally a good idea, but about to be implemented without appropriate research and advice. Questioning her encouraged her to seek other professional advice that equipped her with the proper strategies and approach to protect her investment in her business.

We are enamored with our own ideas. The intent here is not to rain on anyone’s parade, but to help avoid the pitfalls of certain decisions. By identifying potential risks in advance, plans can be made to minimize them or avert certain situations altogether.

5) Support that evokes commitment
By the same token, we sometimes doubt our abilities. Belief in an idea and the person holding it will go a long way to building their confidence for making it happen. Think about it. When some has believed in you, didn’t you feel you could conquer the world?

6) Action planning
All of the brilliant insights are of little use if not applied in the real world. Goals are accomplished one step at a time. Knowing what those steps are keeps you from procrastinating or wasting time flailing around on non-productive activities.

7) Follow up and follow through
Most people are more likely to get something done if they’ve told someone else they will do a thing. When commitments are made and kept privately, there is too much temptation to let them slip or to replace them with some other activity.

Going public with your goals and reporting on your journey will help ensure that the journey actually happens. Getting support and coaching along the way, empowers the experience of accomplishment.

I believe accountability makes magic happen. When we’re held accountable for making progress on our dreams, it opens the door to a life of purpose, fulfillment and prosperity.” -Loretta Love Huff

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Turn the “Scorching Hot Sweet Spot™” in Your Business or Career into Cold Hard Cash

One of the biggest complaints I hear today is that people aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Whether they are a corporate professional looking to move up the ranks in their career or a business owner looking to land more lucrative clients and contracts, they’re struggling to distinguish themselves in an authentic and profitable way.

Recently, I’ve honed in on what it takes to turn what I call “The Scorching Hot Sweet Spot™” in your career or business into cold, hard cash! Once you’ve mastered that process, you’ll attract better clients, gain more recognition in the office, feel way more confident, set yourself apart from the herd, stop worrying about the competition and earn more money.

It’s a simple model. Think back to your high school algebra or logic class to the phrase “Venn Diagram”. The Scorching Hot Sweet Spot is at the intersection of 3 concepts:

1) Your expertise and passions
2) Your customers needs
3) Your offer, well-timed

 

 

Your expertise and passions
It’s critical you know what you’re really good at and it’s likely that you don’t. If you’re like most people, you undervalue what you know. When something somes naturally to you, it’s easy to assume that everyone is good at it too. Nothing could be stronger from the truth.

Take a trip down memory lane and ask yourself what you loved to do as a child or teenager. Recall the kinds of things people have asked your advice on over the years. When you’re clear about your expertise and focus your business or career around the expression of that expertise, you’ll be effective and experience less struggle. Work will feel graceful and full of ease. If you aren’t aware of and don’t effectively market the value of your skills, you’ll sound like everyone else when competing for clients or jobs. You’ll seem like a commodity and be easily replaced by someone with a lower bid.

When you focus on what you’re passionate about, you’ll also experience a feeling of fulfillment and joy. Time will fly by because you’re doing what you love.

Your customers’ needs
People will pay good money to someone who is perceived as being someone who can help them solve their most urgent issues. You have to know what keeps them awake at night and how your ‘magic’ will let them rest more peacefully. If you aren’t aware of their problems, your marketing messages to them will sound like that Charlie Brown teacher “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah”. They don’t care how cool your process is. They only care about their pain and getting rid of it.

Your offer, well-timed
You must have a specific methodology you use to help solve those problems. That’s your “offer”. Having a trademark system in place gives you more credibility and positions you as an expert. Even if you’re an employee, you probably have a certain way you go about solving problems. When you can describe and name your process, it’s value goes up. It’s one of the steps I take my clients through in my VIP “Monetize Your Niche” and “Be Dream Job Ready” private consulting days.

The second component of this is the ‘well-timed’ part. You could have the most compelling solution but if it fixes a problem they’re not having now, you likely won’t get the sale. You must learn to recognize the buying signals that foretell a prospect is ready to take action.

When you clarify these three concepts and implement new activities in your business, you’ll be on the way to pushing more cash in the bank!

How to Know If Your Business Loves YOU

There are several prerequisites for having a business that loves you as much as you love being a business owner.

It’s tempting to delude yourself into accepting less than you deserve because you’re so enamored with the concept of being a business owner.

The reality of it can be a much different story.

When we live in a state of delusion, we’ll accept less than we deserve. We put up with and tolerate behavior that is not conducive to our well-being.

So how do you know if your business is being true to you? How do you know if it’s putting you above all else? How do you know if it would take a bullet for you?

“What’s a body to do?”, you ask.

Establish criteria and expectations that will allow you to lead a lifestyle that inspires you.

1. Schedule vacations

Without proper planning, you could end up working throughout the entire year. When you do your business planning (you DO do that don’t you?), decide how much time you want to take off and then block it out on your calendar. You don’t have to know where you’re going to go (although that helps), you just need to commit to when.

2. Work in your sweet spot

Most people go into business because of a passion or area of expertise thinking that’s how they’ll spend most of there time. Then they realize there is so much more that’s required in running a business. When you’re new you may not be able to afford all of the help you need, but before you think you CAN afford it, start outsourcing tasks you hate or aren’t good at. Doing so will actually free you up to be more creative and thus afford you the time to work on things that will generate more sales.

3. Value your time an expertise

You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Focus on sharing your gifts with others for recompense in addition to the pure joy of it. Don’t undervalue your knowledge and passion. People need your unique perspective and want help from someone who knows more than they do.

4. Work with people you adore

This is definitely one of the big perks of being in business. You get to choose your ideal clients. This is particularly true if you’re in a service business. You target the kind of folk you want to work with. You don’t have to make an ‘offer’ to everyone if you’re not interested. Or, you could add a premium to the price so it feels more palatable to you. I don’t strongly recommend that option. It’s one thing to charge more for work you enjoy less. It seems almost mean to do it for such personal reasons as not liking someone. Just say ‘no’ and move on.

5. It pays you well

I remember talking with a graphic designer 20 years ago when I first started my jewelry design business. I sold hand-crafted earrings and necklaces at Art & Wine festivals in northern California. As we were chatting about my new business (I was very excited), I revealed how much I paid in entrance (booth) fees for the more popular shows. Her reaction was “Oh. I guess you’re happy to just break even.”

I looked at her in dismay. “No”, I said. “I almost always make a substantial profit. And on those occasions when I don’t, I know it’s an aberration and I don’t do that particular show again (unless it was just rained out which was a rare occurrence).

Pristine Beach East Zanzibar
Image via Wikipedia

That jewelry business paid for a 3 1/2 week trip to Tanzania for a safari, a week in Zanzibar and a week in the ‘bush’ with the Masai. It was a great way to start off in the business world. And even today, my pricing reflects the value I provide to my clients not just the minimum to ‘break even’ and cover the bills.

So, if your business loves you, you’ll enjoy your work and your clients. You’ll have time to relax and enjoy live.

You’ll be valued by your clients and you’ll be paid what you’re worth.

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3 Critical Elements for Generating More Sales

Have you been wondering what it takes to grow your business at a rate faster than the market?

Many business owners keep their head to the grindstone. They work hard at their craft and delight in serving their customers. Unfortunately, all that work takes time away from building the business in time-effective ways.

Sure, you go to networking events, make phone calls (you do make calls, don’t you?), maybe advertise in certain places or encourage people to make referrals on your behalf.

Still, not enough profit in the bank account leaves you feeling exhausted, confused and frustrated.

“What’s a body to do?”, you ask.

In my more-than-a-decade of helping business owners improve their situations, I’ve discovered that it takes 3 things to rise above the herd and outpace the market in terms of industry sales in your category.

1. A killer niche
Without a clear niche, you’ll likely never make any headway in your industry. People will struggle to understand what you do and won’t know why they should work with you versus any other provider of … (you fill in the blank).

You will likely struggle yourself positioning yourself against the competition. Your lack of clarity will keep your confidence level suppressed resulting in timidity.

Your message to the market will be muddled. No one will hear you. No money will flow to you. Sales will come through a lot of hard work.

2. Pricing that maximizes your profits
When you’re crystal clear about who you serve and how, your next challenge is packaging your products and services to garner the highest levels of profitability for your firm. You may struggle with this by doubting your ‘deservability’ factor hearing a little voice in your head shouting ‘Who do you think you are?!?!?”

That doubt will cause you to leave money on the table. Your niche clarity will make you appeal to people who are ready to work with you. When you understand their issues and have solutions for their problems, THEY will place a high value on your work and happily pay you for it.

3. A business plan to monetize the first two
Many a business owner, even those who know who they are and what they’re worth, have floundered because they lack insight on what it takes to take a product or service to market. Let’s face it, you have to do some sort of marketing in order to gain the visibility you need to land clients. They won’t just fall in your lap becuase you’re a good person. You must have a proactive plan that includes goals and action steps to achieve them. The Bamboo Approach to Lush Business Growth lays out a framework to making your mark on the world.

Once you have these three elements in place, the world becomes your oyster. Life and business success become attainable. For those of you who are ready to take a significant leap on any of these 3 elements, visit emeraldharvest.com/vipday.htm or apply for a Profit Proliferation strategy session with me at emeraldharvest.com/profitapplication.htm.

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